Our second of five finalists is Julia Hoadley of San Diego. Love a little heat? Her Hoads Hot Jalapeno Burger will make you very happy. She wrote:
“This burger uses homemade ingredients that enhance the flavor. For example, nothing is better than a fresh jalapeno off the vine to give it the perfect flavor. Adding a sprinkle of habanero powder to the burger balances the flavor and heat of pepper seasoning. I used a homemade cayenne pepper sauce that is very similar to Frank's Hot Sauce. I used organic hamburger purchased at Costco and combined it with the onions, garlic, mustard powder and Tajin clasico seasoning hours before grilling so that it had a chance to lock in the flavor of the ingredients. The combination of all the ingredients and especially the jalapenos and habanero powder give the true burger lover a combo of mouth-watering flavor and pepper temperature. To put the “icing on the cake,” this burger is topped with freshly sliced avocado and jalapeno jack cheese on a jalapeno cheddar bagel.”
This year, we received almost 50 submissions from readers and grill-masters across the U.S. and Canada. We asked you to vote for your top 20, and then we got down to testing.
Over 48 hours, we shopped (using a seven-page grocery list), prepped, cooked and grilled our hearts out testing a whole host of burgers (our Test Kitchen went through over 20 pounds of meat alone, including hand-ground sirloin and salmon).
The results were judged by the Food staff, including editor Russ Parsons, restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, deputy editor Betty Hallock, Test Kitchen director Noelle Carter and Web producer Jenn Harris.
The five finalists and their recipes will be featured in the Saturday section on June 29. In the meantime, we'll be giving a daily shout-out to each on our blog. Congratulations all!
HOADS HOT JALAPENO BURGER
40 minutes, plus chilling time. Serves 4
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 cup chopped green onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons Tajin clasico seasoning or taco seasoning
2 to 3 fresh jalapeno peppers, sliced, or sliced canned jalapenos
4 slices pepper jack cheese
4 jalapeno cheese bagels, toasted
Lettuce, for garnish
Fresh avocado slices, for garnish
Habanero or other hot chile powder
Hot sauce, preferably homemade or Frank’s
1. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, green onion, garlic, mustard and taco seasoning. Divide the mixture and form into 4 patties. Cover and refrigerate the patties at least 1 hour to give the flavors time to marry.
2. Heat the grill and season both sides of each patty with habanero powder. Grill the patties on both sides to desired doneness, topping the burgers just before they are done with sliced jalapenos and cheese.
3. Serve the burgers in the toasted bagels, garnish as desired with lettuce, avocado slices and hot sauce.
To whet your appetite for the remaining finalists, here's a super-fast look at all the burgers we tasted.